Rabat – Just a few more months separate football lovers from the ultimate global tournament which begins on June 14. The coach of Morocco’s national football team, Herve Renard, is expected to name his final squad for the upcoming friendlies that his team will play before the World Cup begins.
Moroccan newspaper Al Massae reported yesterday that Renard will soon announce the roster of players for the friendlies against Serbia on March 23 in Turin and against Uzbekistan on March 27 in Casablanca.
FIFA called on each of the 32 teams that will compete in the World Cup to select 35 players for their friendlies before the World Cup in accordance to its new match regulations.
According to the newspaper, Renard’s list will see some big changes. Some high-profile players will miss the cut for World Cup play as their performances with their local or international teams have not been convincing. This may be the case for Real Madrid’s young star, Achraf Hakimi, who missed several games for his Spanish squad lately.
Several other Moroccan players were absent from major games with their international clubs due to injuries, including Sofiane Boufal, Romain Saiss, Oussama Tannane and Aziz Bouhaddouz.
Renard has only a few months to think about his final squad for the World Cup tournament. When the tournament begins, the Atlas Lions will first battle Iran on June 15. Its second game on June 20 is against Portugal, while the last first round match for Morocco will be against Spain on June 25.
Injured players that miss games may provide an opportunity for new faces to steal the spotlight on a global stage. Moroccan standout stars of the recently concluded African Nations Championship (CHAN) tournament include Ayoub El Kaabi who delivered a great performance, including a hat-trick against Guinea, for the host and title winner, Morocco.
The Moroccan Football Federation (FRMF) is currently negotiating to set up other friendlies with top-ranked teams, including Argentina.
FRMF was also hoping for a friendly against the Belgian national football team, but the Belgian football federation denied its request.
In December, Youssef Hijoub, a Moroccan FIFA agent, said that the Belgian team declined FRMF’s invitation due to security concerns.